Should Custom-made Diaper Cream Cost $1,600?

Aug 19, 2014
Express Scripts' compound prescription management solution helps rein in rising costs, while ensuring patients maintain access to the medication they need.
  • Compound Medications

A recent article in The New York Times highlighted how the PBM industry is reining in the rising cost of compounded medications, which have experienced tenfold price increases the last two years.

Times’ reporter Andrew Pollack opens his article:

  • It may be the biggest thing in diaper rash treatment, a custom-made product to soothe a baby’s bottom at the eye-popping price of $1,600. This is no Desitin or Balmex, or any other brand found in stores. This cream is blended to order in a pharmacist’s lab. Does it work better than the common treatments? There is little evidence either way.

There are some instances where compounded drugs are clinically necessary and appropriate for patients. But, by and large, compounded medications do not provide any additional clinical value over more affordable FDA-approved alternatives that are already available.

Express Scripts understands these concerns. It’s our goal to make sure patients maintain access to medications they need while also controlling the rapidly rising cost burden on payers.

Later in his article, Pollack describes our approach:

  • Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefits manager, has said it will stop paying for more than 1,000 ingredients used in compounding, cutting spending by its health plan clients on such medicines by 95 percent. It said such spending had grown to $171 million in the first quarter of this year from $28 million in the first quarter of 2012.

For more information about our Compound Management Solution, click here.

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Lab Staff
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